(CNN) — The truth that there are over 100 various kinds of kimchi ought to inform you one thing concerning the satisfaction Koreans have of their meals.
South Korean delicacies has developed over time due to cultural adjustments, nevertheless it stays a significant side of the nationwide id.
Listed here are 40 dishes that are important to the Korean coronary heart, soul and digestive tract.
Michelin-starred chef Jun Lee offers us a style of each the previous and way forward for Korean meals within the largest fish market in Seoul.
1. Hangover stew (해장국)
Given South Korea’s devoted consuming tradition, it is not stunning that its hangover-curing tradition is equally as developed, from pre-drinking drinks to post-drinking drinks to a wonderful array of spicy and steamy stews and soups.
Constructed from a beef broth, with cabbage, bean sprouts, radish and chunks of congealed ox blood, the deeply satisfying style does wonders to kick-start your sluggish mind within the morning.
2. Kimchi (김치)
Relationship to the Silla Dynasty (round 2,000 years in the past), kimchi is the beloved spicy sidekick at each Korean desk. It is made by salting and preserving fermented cabbage in a mattress of pepper, garlic, ginger and scallion.
Feeling adventurous? Alternate your common pink cabbage kimchi for ggakdugi (chopped radish kimchi), a preferred aspect at gimbap eating places. Yeolmumul kimchi is a much less spicy kimchi made with younger radish stalks floating in a tangy soup.
3. Comfortable Tofu Stew (순두부찌개)
Comfortable tofu, clams and an egg in spicy broth? This in style stew is a basic instance of surprising taste mixtures yielding pleasant sensations.
The delicate tofu — which breaks into fluffy chunks within the stew — holds the flavour of the clam and serves as a reduction from the general spiciness.
Correct sundubu-jjigae is available in a conventional earthenware pot designed to retain warmth. The egg is cracked into the stew after serving, and cooks contained in the bowl.
4. Samgyeopsal (삼겹살)
One of the best a part of consuming in a samgyeopsal restaurant is the ambiance — a rollicking occasion punctuated by soju pictures, pork strips scorching on a grill and shouts for “another serving, please!”
Served with lettuce, perilla leaves, sliced onions and uncooked garlic kimchi, it is smudged in ssamjang (a mixture of soybean paste referred to as ‘doenjang’ and chili paste referred to as ‘gochujang’) or salt and pepper in sesame oil.
5. Jjajangmyeon (짜장면)
Though initially a Chinese language dish, South Koreans have taken the noodles and created a thicker, yummier model that holds solely a obscure resemblance to its Chinese language predecessor. (Consider New Yorkers and the wonders they’ve achieved with pizza.)
It might not be an understatement to say Korean diets wouldn’t be the identical with out this dish — most Koreans eat it a minimum of as soon as every week, and have their favourite jjajangmyeon supply store on velocity dial.
6. Chimaek (치맥)
Chimaek, brief for “rooster, maekju (beer)” is definitely not a dish, however an establishment. This wonderful pairing options two surprisingly mundane meals: fried rooster and beer.
Neither half, rooster nor beer, is especially outstanding by itself. However their recognition as a joint entity demonstrates a wonderful mixture devoured by tens of millions of Koreans each weekend.
7. Prompt noodles (라면)
Anybody can observe the instructions on the again of the ramyeon package deal to boil water and sprinkle within the spice packet, however connoisseurs will add extras like canned tuna, eggs, and cheese for enhanced taste.
8. Kimchi Stew (김치찌개)
A lesser-known truth about kimchi is its versatility as an ingredient in an entire slew of by-product dishes, which comprise a class of their very own.
In kimchi-jjigae, pink cabbage kimchi is chopped, sauteed in oil, and cooked with tofu, cellophane noodles, pork (typically tuna), and different greens.
Regardless of the stew’s debt to kimchi, it has come into its personal when it is served with kimchi as a aspect dish.
9. Military Stew (부대찌개)
This hodgepodge stew of sausages, Spam, American cheese, immediate noodles, tteok, and various greens dates again to the aftermath of the Korean Conflict.
As a result of meat was scarce, cooks discovered artistic replacements within the surplus meals from the American military base stationed in Seoul, therefore the stew’s identify.
Though meat has since then turn out to be plentiful, a buddae jjigae with out Spam is unimaginable.
10. Soy sauce crab (간장게장)
Ganjang gejang, or crab marinated in soy sauce, could be so addictive that it is typically affectionately referred to as “rice thief,” the joke being that you just hold consuming extra rice simply so that you could have extra gejang because it’s simply that good.
Barely tangy, tantalizingly bitter, pungent and chilly, the style might come as a shock for first-timers. However amongst South Koreans, gejang has been carving out a distinct segment for itself as extra of a centerpiece than a sideshow to different seafoods.
11. Tteokbokki (떡볶이)
Tteokbokki is a straightforward Korean avenue meals snack fabricated from rice desserts and fish desserts.
courtesy Korean Tourism Group
This iconic red-orange avenue meals is so in style there’s a whole city in Seoul simply dedicated to the steamed and sliced rice desserts (tteok), cooked with fish desserts (oden) and scallions in a candy and spicy sauce fabricated from chili paste.
Cooks have been identified to place all kinds of issues contained in the sauce, from the black soybean paste to plain previous ketchup. Name us masochists, however one factor is for certain: the extra pepper, the higher.
12. Gopchang (곱창)
Gopchang refers back to the small intestines from pork or cattle, which, chopped into rounded sections, could be cooked into soups, stir-fried, or grilled.
Grilled, gopchang is one more necessary side of South Korean barbecue tradition. Chewy with out being rubbery, it is a bit extra festive than samgyeopsal, though it is nonetheless a staunchly earthy meals.
And as most workplace employees in Korea can inform you, it is divine with soju.
13. Samgyetang (삼계탕)
Persevering with alongside the masochistic pressure, South Koreans have a saying that goes, “struggle warmth with warmth.” What meaning is that they like to eat boiling scorching dishes on the most popular summer time days.
Probably the most consultant of those is samgyetang, a thick, glutinous soup with an entire stuffed rooster floating in its boiling depths.
The cooking course of tones down the ginseng’s signature bitterness and leaves an oddly interesting, fragrant taste in its stead — a taste that permeates a whole fowl boiled right down to a juicy softness.
14. Bibimbap (비빔밥)
Bibimbap combines rice, greens and eggs with a spicy sauce.
courtesy Korea Tourism Group
This South Korean lunch-in-a-bowl mixes collectively a easy salad of rice, combined greens, rice, beef, and egg, with sesame oil and a dollop of chili paste for seasoning.
Though Korean kings from yesteryear would most likely be shocked at how the royal dish has turn out to be so ingrained into the palate of the plenty, we love how cheaply and shortly we are able to devour our favourite lunch.
15. Gimbap (김밥)
The method of creating gimbap resembles the Italian glasswork strategy of millefiori, and certainly, the completed gimbap typically appears too fairly too eat.
Sauteed greens, floor beef, candy pickled radish, and rice, rolled and tightly wrapped in a sheet of laver seaweed (gim), after which sliced into bite-sized circles.
16. Doenjang (된장)
When individuals assume Asian delicacies, they typically assume soy sauce. However soy sauce is definitely a byproduct of this soybean product, a paste created from dried and fermented soybeans in a course of too sophisticated to explain right here.
This brown, textured paste isn’t the prettiest meals on the planet, and like Australian vegemite, the style takes some getting used to. However as soon as that style is acquired, good luck making an attempt to make do with out it.
17. Gamjatang (감자탕)
Most gamjatang locations are open 24 hours, as a result of South Koreans are likely to crave this stew within the early hours of the morning as a substitute for hangover stew.
This hearty dish options potatoes (gamja), scallions, floor perilla seed, and bits of pork cooked in a pork bone broth. The actual enchantment of this stew lies within the distinctive style of the perilla seed, which is probably extra necessary to the flavour than the meat.
18. Haemul Pajeon (해물파전)
Crunchy and filling, Korean pancake tastes finest when it comes studded with shellfish, cuttlefish, and different forms of seafood, to make haemul (seafood) pajeon.
And with its conventional companion of Korean rice wine, makgeolli, pajeon makes the right meal for a wet day.
19. Jjambbong (짬뽕)
This dish is the soupier, spicier counterpart to jjajangmyeon and collectively they kind the core of Korean Chinese language residence supply delicacies.
However though noodles dominate by way of sheer amount, the onions and chili oil that taste the soup are what actually demand your consideration. With copious quantities of chili oil-saturated onions and different greens on prime of the noodles, few are in a position to end this dish in its entirety, however many strive.
20. Sundae (순대)
Sundae, or Korean sausage, has roots in Mongolian delicacies.
courtesy Korea Tourism Group
One other avenue meals, sundae is a sort of sausage, related in content material to blood pudding, with roots in Mongolian delicacies. “Actual” sundae is pig gut with a stuffing of cellophane noodles, greens, and meat, however even when you eat the road vendor model, which makes use of an artificial substitute for the pig gut, you’ll nonetheless be capable of benefit from the lungs and liver on the aspect. Yum.
21. Kongguksu (콩국수)
This seasonal dish would possibly style bland to some, however when you study to benefit from the delicate taste of the bean, you’ll purchase a style for this chilly, creamy, textured noodle dish that no different dish will be capable of fulfill in the summertime.
And if the pale, spring inexperienced julienne cucumbers positioned on the hand-ground, snow-white soybean would not tip you off, kongguksu is a extremely nutritious dish that additionally occurs to be vegetarian-friendly.
22. Kalguksu (칼국수)
Unhealthy kalguksu could be very unhealthy. However good kalguksu is divine.
Though most kalguksu locations will add mushrooms, sliced pumpkin, and seafood or rooster to the essential components of noodles and broth, on the finish of the day kalguksu is concerning the pleasure of the plain.
23. Ox Bone Soup (설렁탕)
This ox bone soup is well recognizable by its milky white colour and sparse components. At most, seolleongtang broth will include noodles, finely chopped scallions, and some strips of meat.
But for such a frugal funding, the outcomes are rewarding. There may be nothing like a steaming bowl of seolleongtang on a chilly winter day, salted and peppered to your style, and complemented by nothing greater than rice and kkakdugi kimchi.
24. Tteokguk (떡국)
Initially tteokguk was strictly eaten on the primary day of the Korean New Yr to indicate good luck and the gaining of one other 12 months in age. The customized makes extra sense when you assume in Korean: idiomatically, rising a 12 months older is expressed as “consuming one other 12 months.”
However this dish of oval rice cake slices, egg, dried laver seaweed, and sometimes dumplings in a meat-based broth is now eaten all 12 months spherical, no matter age or season.
25. Doenjang jjigae (된장찌개)
This humble, immediately recognizable stew is one in every of Korea’s most beloved meals.
The components are easy: doenjang, tofu, mushrooms, inexperienced peppers, scallions, and an anchovy or two for added taste. Add rice and kimchi on the aspect and you’ve got a meal — no different aspect dishes essential.
Whereas its distinctive piquancy would possibly throw some off, that very style is what retains it on the South Korean desk week after week.
26. Galbi (갈비)
Galbi, which implies “rib,” can technically come from pork and even rooster, however if you simply say “galbi” sans modifiers, you are speaking about thick slabs of meat marinated in a mix of soy sauce, chopped garlic, and sugar and grilled over a correct hearth.
In fact, beef galbi can be utilized to make soup (galbitang) and steamed galbi (galbijjim). However these dishes, whereas glorious in their very own proper, are overshadowed by their grilled chief.
27. Chuncheon dakgalbi (춘천 닭갈비)
With diners working collectively to prepare dinner the components on an iron plate, this fiery South Korean rooster dish was designed for sharing.
On the opposite finish of the galbi spectrum is the low-budget scholar favourite Chuncheon dakgalbi.
On this dish, chunks of rooster are marinated in a sauce of chili paste and different spices, and stir-fried in a big pan with tteok, cabbage, carrots, and slices of candy potato.
Due to the tendency of the pink dakgalbi sauce to splatter, it’s normal to see many diners sporting aprons over their garments as they prepare dinner and eat.
28. Bossam (보쌈)
As is steadily the case with many South Korean meat dishes, Bossam at its core is straightforward: steamed pork.
However key to this dish is that the steamed pork is sliced into squares barely bigger than a chew, lovingly wrapped in a leaf of lettuce, perilla, or kimchi, and daubed with a dipping sauce. There are two conventional choices: ssamjang, fabricated from chili paste and soybean paste (doenjang), or saeujeot, a painfully salty pink sauce fabricated from tiny pickled shrimp.
Wrapping and dipping are important.
29. Agujjim (아구찜)
Agujjim, also called agwijjim, is a seafood dish that consists of anglerfish braised on a mattress of dropwort and bean sprout. It’s as spicy because it appears: the whole dish is a vivid reddish colour, from the chili powder, chili paste, and chili peppers used within the seasoning.
The white, agency flesh of the anglerfish, which is sort of rightly referred to as the “beef of the ocean,” is meaty and filling. And the tangle of dropwort and bean sprout that make up the vast majority of the dish aren’t simply there for adornment: the dropwort is tart and the bean sprouts crunchy.
30. Japchae (잡채)
Japchae, a aspect dish of cellophane noodles, pork, and various greens sauteed in soy sauce, makes its most frequent appearances at feasts and potlucks.
There aren’t any exact guidelines governing the exact assortment of greens in japchae, however most recipes will not stray removed from the usual assortment of mushrooms, carrots, spinach, onions, and leeks.
31. Dubu kimchi (두부김치)
This acceptable mixture of blanched dubu (tofu), sauteed kimchi, and stir-fried pork is a threesome made in heaven. The dubu, which has the potential to be bland by itself, has the pork so as to add substance and the kimchi so as to add taste.
One other stalwart companion to alcohol, particularly at extra conventional bars and eating places, dubu kimchi makes soju nearly palatable.
32. Hobakjuk (호박죽)
Hobakjuk is each scrumptious and wholesome.
Courtesy Korea Tourism Group
This viscous, yellow-orange juk, or porridge, will get its distinctive colour and taste from the pumpkin, its namesake and its primary ingredient. The pumpkin is peeled, boiled, and blended with glutinous rice flour, and the result’s a bowl of porridge so creamy, golden, and candy that in some methods it appears extra pudding than porridge.
Hobakjuk is commonly served as an appetizer to meals, or as a well being meals: it’s supposedly helpful to these affected by intestinal issues. The specifics of medicinal science apart, it is not tough to think about that this mellow, mildly flavored meal can heal.
33. Gyeranjjim (계란찜)
This aspect dish, during which an egg is crushed right into a bowl, flippantly salted and steamed right into a spongy, pale yellow cake, is completely important when consuming spicy meals.
Related in consistency to delicate tofu (sundubu), however with extra taste, gyeranjjim is typically made with diced mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, leeks, and sesame seeds sprinkled on prime.
34. Naengmyeon (냉면)
Naengmyeon is likely one of the primary highlights of summers in Korea.
courtesy Korean Tourism Group
In South Korea we await summer time simply so we are able to begin consuming naengmyeon each week. The chilly buckwheat noodles are nice as a light-weight lunch possibility or after Korean barbecue, as a approach to cleanse the palate.
Mul naengmyeon, or “water” naengmyeon, hailing from North Korea’s Pyongyang, consists of buckwheat noodles in a tangy meat or kimchi broth, topped with slivers of radish, cucumber, and egg, and seasoned with vinegar and Korean mustard (gyeoja).
Bibim naengmyeon, or “combine” naengmyeon, typically accommodates the identical components, however minus the broth. The noodles are as a substitute lined in a sauce created from chili paste.
35. Dotorimuk (도토리묵)
This gentle brown jello, fabricated from acorn starch, is served chilly, steadily with a topping of chopped leeks and soy sauce as a aspect dish, or as an ingredient in Dotorimuk salads and dotorimukbap (dotorimuk with rice).
Like tofu, dotorimuk, whereas nutritious and vegan-friendly, can style bland by itself. The flavour, which is exclusive, can solely be described as acorn — bitter relatively than nutty. However though dotorimuk could also be an acquired style, most dotorimuk dishes have a bunch of appetizing spices and condiments to assist the method alongside.
36. Mudfish Soup (추어탕)
This spicy soup has a consistency nearer to that of stew. Though mashed and boiled to the purpose the place it’s unrecognizable, chueotang is known as for the freshwater mudfish (chueo) that constitutes the primary ingredient.
However the promoting level of this soup is the coarse but satisfying texture of the mudfish and the greens — mung bean sprouts, dried radish greens, candy potato stems, and most of all the skinny, delicate outer cabbage leaves.
37. Bulgogi (불고기)
Bulgogi is turning into as well-known as kimchi throughout the remainder of the world.
courtesy Korea Tourism Group
If galbi represents Korean barbecue, then bulgogi’s enjoying discipline is Korean delicacies as an entire. This well-known candy meat dish, which has existed in some kind for over a thousand years, was haute delicacies in the course of the Joseon Dynasty.
The dish can also be a fusion favourite: bulgogi-flavored burgers are a part of the menu at quick meals franchise Lotteria, and there have additionally been sightings of different diversifications just like the bulgogi panini.
38. Ppeongtwigi (뻥튀기)
Should you’ve ever been fortunate sufficient to get caught in daytime Seoul site visitors, you will notice the ppeongtwigi sellers emerge from nowhere and park themselves within the middle of the freeway. Their fearlessness is a positive signal that your automotive will not be budging for some time but.
Ppeongtwiti is onomatopoeic. The ppeong represents the sound that rice makes because it pops, and there actually is not a lot else to the snack however that — popping.
Should you’re feeling uninterested in all of the greasy, barbecue-flavored, chocolate-covered, and over-packaged snacks that almost all shops inventory at present, strive a handful of this comparatively Spartan deal with. It is unexpectedly addictive.
One of the best locations to search out it are on the native vendor down the road.
39. Nakji bokkeum (낙지볶음)
On this enduring favourite, octopus is stir-fried with greens in a sauce of chili paste, chili powder, inexperienced peppers, and chili peppers — components that might be spicy sufficient on their very own, however which all congregate to create one additional fiery dish.
When it is achieved proper, the chewy, tender octopus swims in a thick, darkish pink, caramelized sauce, so good which you could ignore the truth that it units your mouth aflame to maintain consuming.
40. Bingsu (빙수)
On this delectable summer time dessert, sweetened pink beans (pat) and tteok are served on a mattress of shaved ice (bingsu). Variations will embody condensed milk, misutgaru, syrup, ice cream, and corn flakes.
Then there are, in fact, the variations on the bingsu, the place the pat is typically totally changed by ice cream or fruit.
Basic patbingsu, nonetheless, is just too beloved to lose floor to the newcomers — come summer time, each bakery and quick meals restaurant in Seoul could have patbingsu on its dessert menu.
Editor’s word: This text was beforehand revealed in 2012. It was reformatted and republished in 2018.
Violet Kim is a contract author. Discover her on-line @pomography.